Ramsdell Theater Camp culminates with student showcase


MANISTEE – Participants of the first Ramsdell Theater Camp demonstrated all that can be accomplished in two weeks during a presentation at Ramsdell on Saturday.

After the two-week camp, students took to the stage in the historic Ramsdell Theater to perform a variety of musical numbers as well as scenes from contemporary works, classics and even William Shakespeare.

“It was awesome. We’re so proud of them,” said Erin Thompson, program director. “… They were already challenging themselves – stepping out of their comfort zone. A lot of our young girls had never performed a solo before. They were never asked to get up and do that kind of material – especially alone … We got to see them go up there and do it.

The students attended a two-week camp where Thompson and associate principal Abbey Siegworth worked with them Monday through Friday, three hours a day.

“We knew our end result would be a showcase format, because setting up large-scale production takes a lot more time,” Siegworth said. “And with COVID, we wanted to try and keep it a little more streamlined and focused and be able to pitch specifically for each of the campers’ strengths. “

Thirteen students aged 11 to 15 performed in the showcase on Saturday.

Siegworth said the first week of the camp was dedicated to getting the children to know each other and assess their strengths.

“The first week I really did a lot of ensemble building and acting exercises – just tips to get them to know each other, because they’ve never really worked together before,” he said. she declared. “A lot of times part of the process is just sniffing and saying, ‘How are you? OKAY. We have the same sense of humor, “and that sort of thing. … It was about getting that whole basic foundation first. We weren’t so focused on product priority, but rather about creating theater creators from scratch. ”

Auditions were held towards the end of the first week after Thompson and Siegworth got a feel for the students’ strengths and were able to give them roles that would allow them to shine, while also challenging them to become better performers.

“With the cast, we would see where they were at, and then we would push them based on what they wanted. Some people just wanted to sing, some people wanted to do both, some people didn’t want to sing and just do one scene or a monologue, so we kind of said, “OK. We see you are here. I think you can do it “for every person,” Siegworth said. “I think the only way to really grow is to be pushed or take on a challenge that hits a little over your weight.… They are all special in their own way and we just wanted to highlight and celebrate all of them. . “

The kids only had a week to learn the material, and Siegworth said she and Thompson were blown away by their performance.

“We were both crying behind our backs. They are all incredibly humble, hardworking and in good spirits,” Siegworth said. “We never had to control the wearing of masks with them. Not all of them can be vaccinated yet, so (we wore masks) for everyone’s safety. They are just the largest group of theater makers. of the planet. “

Thompson said the kids haven’t shied away from the spotlight and that performing in front of an audience brings out the best in them.

“It’s always exciting with the kids because they’re really improving for performance,” she said. “The audience really influences them. They showed up and did a great job. We’re really proud.”

Siegworth said the camp taught the students things that she herself hadn’t learned until she was in college. She believes that this experience will benefit them throughout their lives, whether or not they pursue a career in theater.

“I think it helps them develop an appreciation on a deeper level of what theater can serve in society and, sort of on a big level, how it has affected and changed them individually,” Siegworth said. “Even if this is the only camp they do, maybe they will grow up and become a scientist, and when they are old enough to have a disposable income, they can become a member of a theater and support and become a appreciator and supporter of the arts. “


Photos: The Ramsdell Theater hosts the first showcase of the summer theater camp

Inauguration of the Ramsdell Theater Camp on the Horizon


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